I have to say, it is friendly to the gluten-free community. I saw gluten-free books in the window of a local book store, a slew of restaurants when I looked it up on Find Me Gluten Free as well as on their local support group’s page.
I only got to try gluten free at a few restaurants since we were pretty scheduled over the weekend. But from what I learned, while gluten-free friendly, if you have celiac disease, you will still need to be very cautious (as usual). With as popular as it is there, I still had to do some interrogating and some answers were good, and some were disappointing. Clearly only going to a few restaurants is not the full range of Boulder’s options, this is barely skimming the surface.
Le Peep. This was a really cute place. We went on a Friday morning around 9:00 a.m. and it was pretty quiet. Their gluten-free menu is nice in size and appeared promising. I saw they had gluten-free waffles available. So I asked if they had a separate waffle iron for the gluten-free waffles, and they said they did not. So I moved onto pancakes. I asked if they would clean the griddle before making the pancakes and they said they would.
So I got two eggs, bacon, potatoes and pancakes– all gluten free. And the pancakes were MASSIVE. If you ever feel slighted by having minuscule gluten-free pancakes, this place will make you feel loved. My husband even had to hover his hand over my lunch to show the scale of how big they were (yes there two there..) I would recommend this place. Also when I posted a picture on Facebook there was a lot of positive feedback about gluten-free options there.
Shine. Named “Best Gluten Free Menu” in the Best of Boulder County’s issue of Boulder Weekly, this restaurant has a full gluten free menu…with no gluten in their kitchen at all. The only gluten is contained in a few beers they have at the bar.
From their dinner menu, we had appetizers of lamb meat balls and sweet potato fries. Both were very good (especially the dipping sauce for the fries). I had mushroom and goat cheese ravioli topped with shredded bison meat. It was WONDERFUL! My husband had the crispy chicken, but didn’t love the mashed cauliflower, but he’s not a cauliflower kind of guy. He was also happy with the pulled pork he had there during a different trip to the restaurant without me.
Walnut Cafe. I was less impressed with the Walnut Cafe. They offer gluten-free waffles and pancakes, but also use a shared waffle iron. They said they could not clean the griddle for me for pancakes (although it would be worth asking again if you were there during non-prime hours). They did agree to cook my eggs in a clean pan and I also had bacon and cottage cheese. My meal was good but not exactly what I wanted.
Overall it was a great trip and someday I hope to bring my gluten-free daughter there to try more! I would recommend it. There are so many places with gluten free options and I just barely scratched the surface.
My big takeaway is, just because they have a gluten-free menu, doesn’t necessarily mean its safe for folks with celiac or those with a high gluten sensitivity. Just remember, as with all restaurant experiences, make sure you ask questions about preparation, you may get some surprising answers.